Headphone Buyer’s Guide – Find The Perfect Pair

Headphones have always been one of the best gifts you can give a music loving friend or family member, as they are absolutely universal, and of course, the primary vehicle for music listening.

There are, however, a ton of different types, brands, styles, and specs, all of which can have a real impact on quality and experience. In the interest of making this decision a slightly easier one for you to make, we’re going to run through some of the main types of headphones, and what sort of specs and features you should look out for to maximize your value!

Headphone Types

Earbuds: Lightweight, compact, and usually less expensive, earbuds are fantastic for travelling, exercise, and often provide fantastic sound isolation!

In-ear earbuds are also commonly used for monitoring in live performance situations. Learn a bit more about using in-ear monitoring on stage here:

On-ear Headphones: These rest on top of your outer ears without entirely covering them. They are comfortable to wear for longer periods of time, and allow the listener to still hear some of the outside world, meaning you are not too isolated.

Full-Size (circumaural) Headphones: Unlike the On-Ear headphones, these cover your entire ear and provide total immersion. Circumaural headphones offer the maximum potential for bass response and dynamic range. Due to their size, Full-Size headphones are often better suited to a home environment.

Features to look out for

Bass-Response: The most commonly lacking element of headphones is bass response, so it’s certainly something worth paying attention to when making your selection.

Open or Closed Back: Closed (or sealed) headphones totally isolate the sound so they can’t be heard by other people, and the listener can’t hear their outside environment. Open back headphones  are not isolated in this way, meaning they allow the listener to still hear their environment.

Comfort: Headphones are often worn for long periods at a time. For this reason, it is important to make a reasonable choice based on the environment in which they will be used. For example, full-Size headphones are ideal for home use, while Sport-focused earbuds are far better suited for exercise.

Professional Headphones

In a professional studio or recording capacity, factors like listening experience begin to fade, and factors like reference-level flat response become fundamentally important. The difference between open and closed back headphones also becomes important and changes the use-case of the headphones entirely.

Looking to learn a little more about professional headphones? Take a look at our breakdown at this link:

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